June 28, 2012
North Carolina beach

North Carolina beach     Photo: W. bootz B. Photography/Flickr

U.S. Beaches Sicken 3.5 Million Each Year

Untreated storm water the leading cause

Stormwater runoff is polluting U.S. beaches and sickening 3.5 million people each year, according to an annual report from the Natural Resources Defense Council released Wednesday. With more than 10 million gallons of untreated storm water entering surface water each year, the country's beaches are plagued with bacteria-laden human and animal waste. In a survey of some 3,000 beaches, the NRDC found 15 that repeatedly had higher than acceptable bacteria levels. Louisiana was found to have the poorest beach water quality, while New Hampshire and Delaware had some of the cleanest. While a slight improvement over 2010, the number of beaches closed and water quality advisories posted in 2011 was the third highest in the 22 years of monitoring. Swimming in polluted water can cause a variety of ailments from skin rashes to dysentery, hepatitis and even neurological disorders. The NRDC is calling for tougher standards on beach water quality and for new efforts to end runoff pollution.

Read more at AFP


    Photo: Unhindered by Talent/Flickr

Human Waste Melting Out From McKinley

Could emerge in 15 years

Tons of human waste dumped into crevasses on Mt. McKinley's glaciers could surface in the next two decades, according to scientists from Alaska Pacific University. Glaciologist Mike Loso says that the estimated 65 tons of solid waste will work its way to the bottom of the glacier in the next 15 to 25 years. But while the droppings will still be full of illness-causing bacteria like fecal coliform and E. coli, it won't likely pose a threat to human health. "We could do the math and figure out how many kilograms of bear poop are out there and we'd come up with a huge number too," Loso said. Climbers on the peak are required to carry out waste in Clean Mountain Cans lower on the peak, but can dump it in crevasses higher on the mountain.

Read more at Alaska Public Radio


    Photo: MartialArtsNomad/Flickr

Record Salmon Return to Northwest

Daily run surpasses previous years' total

On Wednesday, a record 41,000 sockeye salmon, a once-diminishing species, swam over dams to their spawning grounds in the Northwest's Columbia River Basin. In 1995 the area saw fewer than 9,000 salmon total. Biologists ascribe the resurgence to improved dams, favorable ocean conditions, and restored habitat in the Okanagan River Basin, which drains into the Columbia River. More than 290,000 mostly wild-bred salmon have returned so far this summer, and biologists expect over 400,000 total. "Right now those fish are utilizing maybe a quarter of their historic habitat. If more habitat is restored, you could see a million fish coming back here," said Joe Peone, fish and wildlife director for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation.

Read more at CBS News


Black bear

Black bear     Photo: Bess Sadler/Flickr

Bears Close Great Smoky Campgrounds

Increased bear activity worries officials

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have posted warnings around the park and closed two campgrounds due to increased bear activity. A spokesperson said that bears in several areas across the park had become dangerously bold in interactions with humans, coming close to visitors and scavenging for food. “I think we’re still seeing the effects of poor natural food sources—a poor acorn crop and poor berry crop,” said Mike Carraway, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission bear biologist. “But we have problems with people feeding bears on purpose." The country's most-visited National Park is home to a growing population of 1,500 bears.

Read more at the Asheville Citizen-Times


David Beckham

David Beckham     Photo: Kunal Shah

Beckham Left Off London Olympic Squad

Surprise snub by GB soccer coach

David Beckham was informed Wednesday that he failed to make the cut for the British soccer team in the upcoming London Olympics. The 37-year-old East Londoner, who was widely expected to receive a spot on the roster, had said last month that he thought he had a "good chance" of competing in his home town's Olympic Games. "Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me," Beckham said in a statement. The Football Association has yet to issue an explanation for the decision.

Read more at BBC News